In Memory – March 14, 2024

Updated March 27, 2024

Member status key:

AVMA member | AVMA honor roll member | Nonmember

Raymond T. Abel

Dr. Abel (Iowa State ’59), 89, Burlington, Iowa, died January 18, 2024. Following graduation, he served two years in the Army Veterinary Corps. Dr. Abel subsequently became a partner in a mixed animal practice in Mediapolis, Iowa, retiring in 2000. In retirement, he served as a relief veterinarian in the southeast Iowa area. Dr. Abel was a member of the Iowa, Eastern Iowa, and Southeast Iowa VMAs. He was active with the Des Moines County Cattlemen, Mediapolis City Council, and local 4-H club. Dr. Abel’s wife, Patricia; three sons; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren survive him. Two sons, Drs. Steven Abel (Iowa State ’85), and John Abel (Iowa State ’88), are also veterinarians. Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 7023, Merrifield, VA 22116.

Raymond J. Bienko

Dr. Bienko (Auburn ’77), 87, Evans, Georgia, died December 28, 2023. He practiced equine medicine in Ocala, Florida, prior to retirement. Dr. Bienko is survived by his wife, Patricia; a son and a daughter; and three grandchildren. His daughter, Dr. Marie Vernon (Florida ’96), is also a veterinarian.

Grover C. Blair

Dr. Blair (Missouri ’71), 77, Marshall, Arkansas, died October 31, 2023. He owned Searcy County Veterinary Service, a mixed animal practice in Marshall for 52 years. Dr. Blair served two terms on the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Examining Board. He volunteered his services to the Searcy County Fair, was active with the Marshall chapter of the National FFA Organization, served as a Searcy County election commissioner, and was a member of the Masonic Lodge. Dr. Blair’s wife, Elaine; a son and a daughter; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Marshall Methodist Church, c/o Sharon Daniel, 301 Dogwood Blvd., Marshall, AR 72650; Calf Creek Masonic Lodge, c/o Michael Horton, P.O. Box 748, Marshall, AR 72650; or Dongola Cemetery, c/o Pat Neel, 1786 Punkin' Flat Road, Marshall, AR 72650.

Theresa M. Digiulio

Dr. Digiulio (Pennsylvania ’69), 80, Coventry, Connecticut, died November 1, 2023. She served as an attending veterinarian and consultant in Connecticut at Hartford Hospital, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and Trinity College for 20 years prior to retirement. Earlier in her career, Dr. Digiulio practiced in the state at West Hartford, Middletown, Colchester, Farmington, Manchester, and Glastonbury. A past secretary of the Connecticut VMA, she was named CVMA Veterinarian of the Year in 1995. Dr. Digiulio was active with the Storrs Regional and Mattabasset chapters of the National FFA Organization. She is survived by her husband, Daniel, and a daughter.

Paul L. Huff

Dr. Huff (Kansas State ’66), 82, Peyton, Colorado, died December 3, 2023. He practiced small animal medicine in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for more than 50 years prior to retirement. Dr. Huff served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps during the Vietnam War. He received several honors, including a Bronze Star for his service. Dr. Huff is survived by his wife, Judith; three daughters and a son; 16 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials may be made to Rustic Hills Baptist Church, 1927 N. Murray Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80915.

John C. Pickett Jr.

Dr. Pickett (Purdue ’69), 81, West Lafayette, Indiana, died November 3, 2023. A small animal veterinarian, he owned what is now known as the VCA-Lafayette Animal Hospital prior to retirement in 2008. Dr. Pickett was a past president of the Indiana VMA. In 1993, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine named him a Distinguished Alumnus. A master gardener, Dr. Pickett was also active with the Boy Scouts of America and Kiwanis International. He is survived by his wife, Ann; two sons and a daughter; six grandchildren; and a sister.  Memorials may be made to the Purdue DVM General Scholarship Program, Dauch Alumni Center, 803 Westwood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Henry F. Richter

Dr. Richter (Auburn ’60), 94, Sarasota, Florida, died November 9, 2023. He owned a practice in Palmetto, Florida, prior to retirement. Dr. Richter was an Army veteran of the Korean War, attaining the rank of captain. He is survived by five sons, 12 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

David W. Rosberg Jr.

Dr. Rosberg (Texas A&M ’70), 76, Mason, Texas, died January 27, 2024. Following graduation, he practiced in Wichita Falls, Texas, for a year. Dr. Rosberg subsequently served two years in the Air Force Veterinary Corps. During that time, he oversaw public health and food and commissary services at various locations. Dr. Rosberg received an Air Force Commendation Medal for his service. In 1973, he established Hill Country Veterinary Hospital in Mason. Dr. Rosberg also consulted for the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, he served on the board of directors of the Texas VMA and was appointed to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for a six-year term. In 1990, Dr. Rosberg was named Texas VMA Food Animal Practitioner of the Year. The Mason County Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Hall of Fame Award in 2024.

Dr. Rosberg is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; two daughters and two sons; six grandchildren; and a sister. One son, Dr. Andrew D. Rosberg (Texas A&M ’04), is also a veterinarian.

George D. Schoonmaker

Dr. Schoonmaker (Cornell ’68), 88, West Melbourne, Florida, died December 4, 2023. Following graduation, he practiced in Gloversville, New York, before establishing Manheim Veterinary Clinic in Manheim, New York. In 1996, Dr. Schoonmaker sold his practice and served as a relief veterinarian until 2004. He was a member of Phi Zeta. Dr. Schoonmaker is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; a son and a daughter; two grandchildren; and a brother.

Penelope L. Skelley

Dr. Skelley (Texas A&M ’89), 71, Thorndale, Texas, died January 29, 2024. Following graduation, she practiced in central Texas for several years. Dr. Skelley later worked for the Veterinary Information Network for more than a decade. She also raised llamas. Dr. Skelley is survived by her husband, Carl. 

John W. Walters

Dr. Walters (Ohio State ’71), 78, Carrollton, Ohio, died January 22, 2024. Following graduation, he established a mixed animal practice in Ohio’s Carroll County, serving the area for 52 years. Dr. Walters also served as veterinarian for the Carroll County Fair for several years. Active in his community, he conducted rabies clinics for the Carroll County Humane Society and was a member of the Carroll County Farm Bureau.

Dr. Walters was the recipient of the 2014 Carroll County Dairy Promotion Board’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2015, he was inducted into the Carroll County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame, and, in 2021, he received a Carrollton Community Service Award. Dr. Walters is survived by two daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and seven siblings. Memorials, with the memo line of the check notated “In honor of Doc Walters,” may be made to the Carrollton First United Methodist Church, 253 S. Lisbon St., Carrollton, OH 44615, or the Carrollton FFA Alumni, 8343 Seemann Drive SW, Carrollton, OH 44615.

A version of this story appears in the May 2024 print issue of JAVMA

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